Q: Karnataka election 2018 has boiled down to a battle of who is the real Hindu?
It's a very difficult subject. Just going to a temple does not define a Hindu. All to me is righteousness. Whichever 'ism' you follow, just do the right thing. The whole discussion on Hinduism, Hindutva and even Soft Hindutva are all political in nature. If it we not election time, can we have a debate on this same subject? When election is nearing this subject is used to create a divide among people and it's not right.
Q: What kind of food you have before visiting a temple also defines your true Hindu identity?
Where is the rule? If there is a rule, I agree. In Nepal, if you visit the Pashupatinath temple, there is a rule that only Hindus are allowed. There is no rule that says God will not like you if you eat non vegetarian food and enter the temple. Creating this kind of confusion in the minds of the people is not right. That Rahul Gandhi had non-vegetarian food and entered a temple... these are all petty things to me.
Q: Does Congress have a hold over the urban pockets keeping Bellandur, pothole and infrastructure woes of Bengaluru in mind?
Yes, people want good roads, water, electricity, etc. In a growing city like Bengaluru, right from the 70s, the population has been swelling. Compared to Mumbai and other such places, Bengaluru infrastructure is much better. Though we have a long way to go. There is shortage of water, power, etc. In the political arena, BJP will try to take advantage, promising that what we didn't, they will. It depends on that day. You need to market yourself.
Q: But when it comes to marketing oneself on social media, politics hits a new low where rivals take personal pot shots at each other
I don't know. From the beginning, they started using social media in a bad sense. I've seen BJP using social media against Rahul Gandhi, calling him all sorts of names. Then, if you see some of the comments, you cannot read it. And then it spread and everybody started misusing social media. Now, it's settled down. But, it's still not person-friendly. May be, after this election, it might settle. Congress is trying to reach out to individuals through social media to tell them what we promised and what we have delivered. This, I agree, will be more useful that individual remarks.
Q: And schemes are being marketed through social media using fake accounts?
We all make mistakes. It is an individual's statement and it's blown out of proportion. The other day, BJP's KS Eshwarappa said, "It doesn't matter if you tell lies. You can do that and get votes." We all criticised it. To make some remarks as an issue is not right.
Q: When you want to use social media to highlight your schemes, there are also allegations about glaring loopholes in you most-talked-about Anna Bhagya scheme
When we started with this scheme, there were loopholes. You need to understand there are teething troubles when you launch a project. That's exactly what happened. We are trying to better and so far, it has been quite a hit.
Q: However, has Congress somewhere failed in the Mahadayi issue?
Mahadayi depends on the magnanimity of Goa CM. When Indira Gandhi was the PM, Tamil Nadu faced water crisis. Indira ji requested the CMs of states like Maharashtra, Karnataka and Pondicherry to provide 5 TMC each on humanitarian grounds and solved the issue. Here, we are asking for 7.56 TMC of water. Can the PM not intervene here?
Q: Next, you have Cauvery issue to face
This issue has been on right since 1924. We'll face another issue. One at a time.
Q: Crisis or not, is Congress sure of absolute majority? We hear JD(S) is planning a pact with BJP
Congress has its work to showcase. And we have done a fair job from Yettinahole project to various schemes. And people are aware of our governance.
Q: Many parties like the All-India women's party have emerged. Are your Muslim votes under threat.
BJP used Asaduddin Owaisi during elections in UP. Now this All-India Women's party. This is a regular political ploy. We'll face it.
Q: Infighting between you and CM can be a challenge during Karnataka election?
I must have clarified this a hundred times. We are two different individuals. You can't expect us to be on the same page with every issue. We think differently, but we work together as a party. We differ on certain things, but we work together for the political cause. We have two different roles. He as the CM and I as the president of the party. On common issues, we debate. But look at it this way, we differ to agree.